The certification as a starting point for access to markets
Tunisia’s agri-food sector has witnessed growth in recent years, and Nesrine Ouderni is tapping into this opportunity with the launch of Ouderni Agroconserves – a food preservation company in Medenine.
After graduating in food industry, Nesrine quickly knew that she wanted to be independent in her profession.
“I wanted to work in a field I was passionate about but during my previous professional experiences with various agri-food companies, I was not very fulfilled. I quickly realized that if I wasn’t the one to shake things up, no one would do it for me.”
Encouraged by her husband, Nesrine launched her own business for preserving and canning food products. First she completed a training in canning in Tunis to learn more about safe preservation methods and to perfect her skills. After obtaining a loan from the Tunisian Bank of Solidarity (BTS) and having completely fitted out her location, Nesrine launched her activities in January 2020.
“My products were very successful from the start, the need was there. But just two months after the launch of my company, everything stopped with the COVID-19 pandemic. It wasn’t until this past summer that I was able to get back to my business activities again.”
The halt of her activities coincided with a meeting with the regional expert of Mashrou3i. After a diagnosis of her needs, Nesrine received communication support through the printing of business cards, signs and other promotional materials. The USAID-funded Mashrou3i project also enabled her to obtain ISO 22000 certification, which also includes ISO 9001, a guarantee of quality for her clients.
“ISO certification is a must for all manufacturers. It has allowed me to access many more industrial clients who need this certification to export. It also open doors for me to export my own products internationally in the future.”
“Following the certification and the strengthening of my advertising tools, thanks to Mashrou3i, I have gained new customers and increased my turnover.”
Through her packaging and conservation services Nesrine meets the demand of many industrial companies but also smaller firms and even individuals wanting to preserve jams and home cooked food – making this process accessible to a much more varied clientele.
Recently, the young entrepreneur has gained new clients by collaborating with travel agencies to offer tourists and pilgrims the opportunity to take their own cooked dishes with them abroad – a service that has proved extremely popular.
Now that her activities have taken off again, the young entrepreneur is already thinking about the next steps of development. She will soon launch her own brand of jams based on the fruits of her region, such as dates and pomegranates – an obvious extension of her activities that offer her loyal customers, finished products of quality.